Professional hockey player Zac Elliott is in top form. He’s having the best season of his career, the local fans can’t get enough of him, and he’s in the middle of the most successful contract negotiations of his career. When the sexy little spark between Zac and the team owner’s daughter blazes to life, no matter how forbidden, he can’t resist.
Philanthropist Heather Ryan can’t keep her hands off of Zac. If her father finds out, it could end Zac’s career and ruin her reputation. What they share is deeply passionate and intensely private…until the press exposes their illicit relationship.
Now the fans have viciously turned against Heather, Zac’s game is faltering, and even his team has deserted him. The only way out of the penalty box is for Zac to play hockey like life—and love—depends on it…
Source: ARC from NetGalley
This is a cute little romance, with a sporting heart. The blurb is a little misleading, though, because there really isn’t much of a relationship before these two get outed to the press. Zac might have liked the look of Heather from afar for years, but they have one accidental meeting, followed by a joint escape from a party. They barely even kiss before trouble hits.
And boy does it! I’ve loved various different sports all my life, but I’ll admit I know nothing about hockey (I’m British, we play hockey in the mud, with balls made out of concrete and sticks that will break your shins), however I get that the more money there is in team sports, the more rabid the fans are. Maybe it’s because of the contracts and transfers, where players are ‘bought’ implying a sense of ownership. The way the fans react to Heather seems pretty extreme, until I think about some of the real life troubles sports stars have gone through. As with anything that gets taken to an obsessive level, that stuff is unhealthy.
Zac’s so lovely, though. He knows what he wants and he’s willing to fight for it. Even as everyone, everywhere is telling him to back off, to let it go, to move on. It’s only when he’s worried for Heather’s safety that he backs down a bit. Sort of. Temporarily, anyway. I loved that it wasn’t Heather he had to win here – she is never made into just a prize – but the support of the fans. He never once questions Heather or their relationship, it’s just everything else that has to be dealt with.
I’ll admit Heather was a bit dull in comparison. I’d have liked to have had more about her life, what she actually did all day, rather than her being the victim of all the hate and gossip. Not that it isn’t true that women catch all the flack, but compared to Zac who comes out fighting, she mostly seems to hide away. It might have been nice if she’d put together a few things, rather than Zac once again doing all the work.
But that’s a minor niggle, really. This is a short, sweet read about a darker side of fame with a nice romance and a great ending in proper sporting style. Is a little cheesy? Yes, probably, but I don’t care – some days it’s nice to curl up with a tale in which love triumphs over all.